With the first two weeks of July offering big paychecks, the top rookies in the chase for the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year title continue to distance themselves from the field and to flirt with possible Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifications.
The top three have been consistent all season and are now only separated by $5,952. Though, after months of chasing fellow Texan Cash Enderli, Joel Harris finally surpassed the season-long leader by putting together a solid Fourth of July run, worth more than $11,000.
No. 1 Resistol Rookie: Joel Harris
Harris’ big brother Ty (four-time NFR calf roper and 2018 Rookie of the Year) was also on a tear during the Fourth, setting new all-time earnings marks after stuffing $40,561 in his Wranglers over the seven days surrounding the holiday.
“It was perfect,” Harris, 20, said. “It was fun to see.”
Harris was not only witness to the brilliance as Ty’s hauling partner, but he did his own part in keeping the family name on high.
“It was good—some ups and downs, but good,” Harris said. “There are so many opportunities to win that week that you just have to keep your head up. There’s a good chance to win every day.”
The highlight of the week was an 8.3-second run on his second calf at Oregon’s St. Paul Rodeo, which not only won second in the round, but helped Harris clinch a third-place finish in the two-head average at 18.1 seconds on two head.
“I think the best run I’ve made was the second one in St. Paul,” he said, noting it was a season highlight, as well. “That was so important because I hadn’t won a whole lot and I needed to get the ball rolling.”
Harris was riding his brother’s “Spiderman” and pulled checks in Prescott, Arizona, and Oakley, Utah, as well.
“Spiderman is the horse Ty made the NFR on the last two seasons, and he’s the one I have been riding the most lately.”
After taking a few days off after the Fourth, Harris stayed in the Northwest for rodeos in Cheney, Washington, and Elgin, Oregon, on the weekend of July 7–9. He picked up a good check at the Elgin Stampede to run his 10-day total to $11,332.
The cash allowed him to leapfrog Enderli, who carried a lead of about $4,500 into the middle of July.
“I try not to,” Harris responded to whether he watches the standings. “I know what it takes at the end of the year [to make the Finals], so I’m trying to just stay focused on that and not look at the guys around me.”
Harris is currently ranked 28th in the PRCA world standings, about $25,000 out from the 15th position.
Though Harris says the level of roping hasn’t been surprising in his rookie season, the quick pace of the calendar has been.
“How fast it flies by,” is the only surprising part of the whole rookie experience, he said.
As for his first Cowboy Christmas, he was happy to win some and happy to get some sleep at the end.
“It ended up being pretty good,” Harris said. “Ty got more of it, did more of the driving, and I got to fly a bit. But it wears you out either way.”
Harris is looking forward to a busy July as the season’s Sept. 30 end looms in the distance.
“It doesn’t let up,” he said as he drove to Salt Lake City for qualifying rounds on July 10 and 11, ”but it’s been a blast. It’s real fun when you’re winning and still fun even when you’re not.”
“But definitely more fun when you’re winning,” he concluded.
More Fourth Results: Who Won *What* Where in the Tie-Down Roping Over Cowboy Christmas
#2 Resistol Rookie: Cash Enderli
Enderli was solid over the Fourth, preventing Harris from running away too far. He earned $6,261 during Cowboy Christmas, half of which came from 7.8-second run that won the Western Stampede in West Jordan, Utah. He also gathered a big check at North Dakota’s Mandan Rodeo Days to stay strong in the race.
Though he was blanked on the July 7–9 weekend, Enderli has the chance for two huge paydays during the middle weekend of July. He will compete at the Calgary Stampede and then the NFR Open at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs.
#3 Resistol Rookie: Dylan Hancock
Hancock kept pace with the leaders as June rolled into July and earned a respectable $3,498—a chunk of that was for splitting second in the second round in St. Paul with rookie leader Harris. He also placed in Molalla, Oregon.
Keeping his foot on the gas, the multi-event hand earned a round win in Big Fork, Montana, on July 8, banking another $1,861.
#4 Resistol Rookie: Brayden Roe
Wendell, Idaho’s Brayden Roe placed in three rodeos for a respectable Fourth. He picked up $6,964 in Eugene, Oregon, as well as Montana’s Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge and the Livingston Roundup. He continues to stalk the leaders but the gap between him and third-ranked Hancock has widened to nearly $8,000.
#5 Resistol Rookie: Chet Weitz
Top All Around contender Chet Weitz is still playing catch-up after undergoing shoulder surgery this winter. He made his return to the arena in June at the Reno Rodeo and advanced to the finals, eventually finishing seventh.
Over Cowboy Christmas, Weitz won money in Livingston, Montana; Mobridge, South Dakota; and Killdeer, North Dakota. He was named the Killdeer Mountain Roundup All Around Champ after also placing in the team roping.
Weitz is back a ways in the tie down roping but sits well within striking distance in the Rookie All Around race, just about $6,000 behind leader Clay Clayman.
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The Race Continues . . .
While Enderli has the advantage as the only rookie competing in Calgary, he will be joined in Colorado Springs by Chet Weitz.
Apart from those two opportunities, there is big money to be won at the Casper and Sheridan rodeos in Wyoming and in Nephi, Utah. The same holds especially true for those who can advance from the Salt Lake qualifying rounds into the performances beginning July 19. All of the rookie contenders, save Enderli, will be in Salt Lake.
Top 10 Resistol Rookie Calf Ropers as of July 9, 2023
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